Christmas Lights Ride 10 December 2016

We had a good turnout for the last Newham Cyclists ride of 2016, despite the rainy weather. Taking the CS2 into to central London was a breeze and suddenly as we entered the City and St Paul’s we were surrounded by hundreds of young people dressed as Santa Claus, wasn’t he supposed to be an old, bearded man? Bemused we negotiated the West End traffic, both on the roads and pavement, well, there are not that many shopping days to go. Our aim was to see as many of the fancy street lightshows as we could. This included Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Regent Street, New Bond Street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square, where there appeared to be a Santa rally occurring, so we had a photos taken with a couple.

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Our route then continued towards Covent Garden and Somerset House, where we descended to the Embankment to take the CS3 route home. The scorecard on this year’s lights still seems to be weighted in favour of Carnaby Street, although, on recommendation, we included Neal Street this year it was hard to reach a consensus (11/10 Bernard, 4/10 Bill). I suppose everyone has their own idea of Christmas

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More photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157675936870792

Steve

(Belated) Readout from November Meeting

A well attended social gathering at the Wanstead Tap.

We managed to conduct some business. The main item was next year’s ride programme which is shaping up nicely and should be ready in the early New Year.  Early dates for your diary are 10 December for the Christmas Lights Ride and 14 January for a ride to the William Morris museum exhibition, “Posters of Protest”.

Other issues:

  • After further discussion we decided to maintain our opposition to the current Quietway plans for the junction at Leytonstone Rd between Henniker Rd and Buxton Rd.
  • Bike form Boleyn are holding a Quiz night on 13 January.  Newham Cyclists will be fielding a table.  If you would like to participate please get in touch with me.
  • All who had not were urged to respond to the Stratford gyratory consultation which closed on 30 November.
  • Our next infrastructure catch up meeting with the Newham council Sustainable Transport Officer will be on 16 December. if you have any infrastructure issues that you would like to raise please let me know.
  • We discussed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park issues.
  • Our next meeting will be on 30 January 2017

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Arnold

 

 

East London Brewery Ride 5 November 2016

We all knew that this ride would not be dry, despite the weather forecast. The day started cold and cloudy as we met at the Viewtube base camp for the much previewed brewery ride. The idea for this ride came from and article in the London Cyclist magazine a few months before. They had suggested a tour of six taprooms and microbreweries in east London. However our own resident expert, Bill, had discovered that there were approximately 20 breweries in east London, some in pubs, some with taprooms and some without, and we could therefore improve on this small sample. Although it was ambitious to cover all twenty breweries, we decided to limit the stops to three, Howling Hops, I Mile End and Wild Card.

We set off at 12:15 and it was not long before we alighted on the first stop in Hackney Wick. After the first sample we left just as West Ham fans were arriving for the home match against Stoke. We crossed into Victoria Park where we found the first brewpub. Through the park and into Bethnal Green we were tempted to stop at Redchurch with it’s cosy bar, however we were on a schedule and so had to limit our trade to offsales. Down Cambridge Heath Road to 1 Mile End and stop number two. This gorgeous pub is located in Whitechapel, adjacent to the Blind Beggar and the old Watney Manns brewery, and we had a group photo with no bikes and no beer, strange.

Newham Cyclists gather outside the White Hart pub
Outside The White Hart (Photo courtesy Robin Stephenson)

Then back to the Bethnal Green Working Mans Club which houses the Three Sods brewery. Continuing north though the back streets to Hackney Central, where we found the Cock brewpub and identified two other breweries nearby. The tour relentlessly tracked north along the Lea towpath to the Beavertown brewery in Tottenham Hale. Despite a rather inauspicious location, on an industrial estate, and the near freezing temperatures the place was packed with people sitting both inside and outside eating and drinking. This beer must be good, they certainly have some excellent artwork. But, we had only one more stop and it wasn’t here, so we pressed on through Waltham Forest to another quite unique little industrial estate with two breweries, a gin house and God’s Own Junkyard, which is difficult to describe and impossible to classify. After supping the Wild Card we returned, utilising the superior mini Holland roads, to Stratford, where we had planned to end the ride at the only Newham brewery taproom, Tap East. However we were late and as we approached the Westfield centre, we could see crowds of WHU fans pouring through the streets around the station on their way home. So we tactically ended the ride on Victory Way

Thanks to Bill for his comprehensive research, more details are on the Newham Cyclists website and also to Robin, whose photos provide and excellent record of this unusual day out.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157672535706514/

Steve

Readout of October Meeting

A meeting packed with discussion set in the congenial surroundings of Eat 16. Apologies for the long post.

On rides:

  • Steve related the success of theBike from Boleyn ride which attracted over 50 riders including 7 Councillors and Stephen Timms MP. It has been reported in the Newham Recorder and will be in the Newham Mag to be issued on 4 November.
  • A bigger Bike from Boleyn ride is planned for April 22 (the Everton game). Put this weekend in the diary (in case the match is shifted to Sunday!).
  • Some other side benefits include; contact with the West Ham Supporters Club which isable to accommodate meetings; fundraising/social events are planned; we can adapt a Newham ride in February to bring in with West Ham heritage sites, with a view to attracting these participants.

We will discuss our 2017 ride programme at the next meeting which will have a more social focus. Inm the meantime our Brewery ride will take place on Saturday 5 November, meet at the View Tube at midday.

In respect of the Greenway (which was brought to Councillors attention as a cycle resource by the Bike from Boleyn Ride) there was good news: Planning applications are in for the 24 hour lighting and CCTV; work should start ona new Abbey Rd ramp and signalised crossing to the Channelsea path shortly; Newham Council has prioritised the other new ramps in this order (1) West Ham Memorial Park (2) Newham General Hospital (3) Lonsdale Ave/Stokes Rd (4) First Ave (5) Gallion’s Reach (6) Khartoum Rd (7) Corporation St. The funding is likely to reach to (3) and might even stretch to (5).

Furthermore TfL are going to look at the rubbish phasing of thelights at the A13 crossing (at long last).

However, the closure north of Stratford High St is likely to continue to at least spring 2018, but with any luck the pavement outside the former Porsche garage should be widened again soon to assist teh alternative shared path route.

Peter outlined the excellent progress he and Thom we making on building our new website. It should be possible to switch over shortly. It will be more mobile friendly and simple that the current site. The features suggested at the meeting, based on the current experience (and seemingly possible) were:

  • better links., e.g. between the calendar and rides and with Facebook and Twitter;
  • a facility to cut down posts with a “read more” button;
  • a facility to archive, e.g. our responses to consultations;
  • greater ability to download routes.

More long term we thought a “how to get there facility” would be useful, as would an weekly/fortnightly e-mail (with a view to replacing the current Yahoo Group) and an easy way for those interested to respond to consultations – see below.

We appreciated the need to cater for casual interest as well as the hard core supporter, and to seize the opportunity for educating Councillors.

On infrastructure:

  • The Forest Gate response had been lodged by Olawale and followed up with an e-mail to all local Councillors.
  • He had also lodged a response to the Westfield Ave crossing and elicited a helpful response from the responsible Council traffic officer.
  • The two Quietway consultations for crossing Leytonstone Rd at Buxton Rd which needed to be submitted this week were discussed at length and the meeting concluded that we should (a) remind the Council of thebetter option of using Chobham Rd(b) stick to TfL and LCC standards by calling for a signalised crossing – even if that were to be sensored or push button in order to avoid needless disruption at time of few cyclist crossing, and (c) indicate that we could accept Buxton Rd being two way.
  • The meeting confirmed there was no objection in principle to a zebra link from the floating bus stops on Stratford High St to the pavement but considered that further information should be sought as to their width and their lighting.
  • Straford gyratory consultations are taking place on datesand at venues found in this link, and are important. As we have been very closely involved in the development of theplan it is good. Olawale explained that it would be helpful if as many as possible went to the consultations to give vocal support in principle, in the light of thecurrent organised opposition taking place, especially in central London, to cycle schemes. Information on where opposition was likely to arise would be useful. The outstanding points that can be made are (a) phasing of lights should not discriminate against cyclist as on CS2 (b) there should be coherence with other schemes especially Maryland and “the Leyton ladder” route to Leyton (c) steps should be taken to stop rat running in surrounding areas, and (d) the footpath between Station Rd and the DLR should be shared. If there are individual questions on this scheme please get in touch.

As a matter of general principle it was suggested that in consultation we repeat our established view on schemes and press for illustrative drawingswhen these are not supplied as part of the consultation.

And there was even a short time for some AOBs:

  • Olawale will share the slides from the recent PASTA event.
  • Individuals encouraged to support cycling consultations even if out of Borough, such as Tavistock Place. A positive approach was needed to counteract organised opposition.
  • Ken suggested providing a core briefing on cycle issues to Councillors and reported that Lyn Brown MP had been persuaded that the use of buses to transport bikes through the proposed Silvertown Tunnel was a poor idea.
  • We should emphasise the role of cycling in improving air quality.
  • TfL moving to the Stratford International Quarter provided an opportunity.

Arnold

 

Ride Report: Rainham Marsh 9 October 2016

Confident of excellent weather for the third year running for this traditional October ride a select band set out from the View Tube for coffee and cake at the RSPB centre on Rainham Marsh.   Having survive the industrial and post-industrial stretch from the Greenway at Beckton to Rainham Village the marsh provided an excellent ride including evocative views of the Thames:

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Having refreshed ourselves we took a very short diversion to examine a new  gunpowder museum, shown in thee background of this photo

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and headed back up through the Ingrebourne Valley country park to Upminster, taking in the Col de Ingrebourne Hill with its panoramic views of East London.

By the time we reached our destination there was a hint of light rain through the sun, but nothing to compromise an enjoyable 26 mile runaround.

Arnold

 

FreeCycle of 30 July 2016

Newham Cyclists led a feeder ride of 71  from Stratford (Meridian Square) down Cycle Superhighway 2 to Leadenhall to join the excellent 8 mile FreeCycle route of closed roads in central London.  Our group comprised a whole range of different cyclists, from a small child in a trailer and a complete newcomer to cycling, to regular commuters and some warming up for the Surrey Hills ride the following day.

Here is a picture of our excellent ride leader Steve giving the briefing at the start…

Freecycle 2016 start

And one of the team of trained marshalls…

Freecycle marshalls 2016

And this is proof that we made it happily to the Walkie Talkie in Leadenhall St….

Freecycle 2016

A smaller band gathered for the return journey, and were safely guided back to Stratford, subject only to one puncture at the beginning which Dr Bike in Leadenhall swiftly fixed.

A joyous day of cycling.

Readout from 27 June Meeting

The meeting focused on infrastructure as Richard, Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer kindly provided an update.  The key  features are:

  • Richard explained how “LIP” funding provided to local authorities by TfL for relatively minor transport improvements work.  We are currently in the final year of a three year phase which has seen a number of improvements, not least based on the 2014 “Ward audit” Newham cyclists undertook with Richard.  Richard explained how a series of contraflows, drop kerbs and point closures  were being brought forward in a coherent way to promote  permeability in urban Newham.  Soft measures such as cycle training and work with schools  had been more successful than might have been anticipated.  The current funding may be rolled out for a further year before the next three year cycle.
  • Newham Councillors have rejected a plan for Forest Gate which (in response to strong calls from consultation) included some segregated cycle lane.   Whilst we were critical of the details of the plan this is a disappointing affirmation of how far behind Newham Councillors are in promoting cycling. Improvements    are funded by Crossrail so will go ahead, but their nature is not now known.  We will continue to keep an eye and press for improvements that benefit cyclists.
  • The Maryland Crossrail improvement plans have yet to be put out for consultation.  It is important that these are coherent with the Stratford Gyratory .
  •  Improvements to the Greenway are progressing, including lighting and some extra ramps (e.g. to Memorial Park and Newham Hospital ).  One new ramp has passed the design stage which will promote useful connectivity with the Channelsea Path (although a vital toucan crossing of Rick Roberts Way is not yet funded).
  • Redbridge Council are pressing hard for a Roding Crossing to Ilford north of the Romford Rd.  This would increase the importance of utilising the current pathway between the City of London Cemetery and the railway line which is currently unusable for cycling.
  • A cycle lane is being put into Jenkins Lane as part of CS3 improvements.
  • Implementing the Silvertown Way planned improvements are partly funded and therefore likely to start (with the active support of the local councillors).  This is important as cycle facilities need to be put in place before the Silvertown Tunnel attracts more traffic into this part of Newham.
  • The scrapyard blocking the completion of the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning Town is reported to have found an alternative site.  The timing of any move is not known.
  • On street cycle parking shelters are now being installed and well used.  Request from groups of neighbours would be welcome.

We will have a stall at the Forest Gate Festival on 16 July, but more volunteers to do a shift would be welcome.  We will also try to promote cycling at a St Paul’s (East Ham) Street Party on 13 August.  if you can help and have not already volunteered for either of these events please contact me.

The Essex Lanes ride of the previous day was proclaimed a great success.

Next meeting 25 July – probably linked to an evening ride.

Newham Ride and Greenway Consultation

Under the intrepid leadership of Bill the hardy crew of Newham set out in poor looking weather for the third Newham Ride of the 2016 calendar.  Taking in the Lea Valley and the Isle of Dogs we crossed into Greenwich and followed the river round to the cable car.  As this photo shows the weather did not improve south of the river.

 

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A return to Newham via the cable car did at least see the rain stop and we made it back to Stratford via the (now open to Stratford High St)  Greenway.

The next ride is Essex Lanes on 26 June and our last scheduled Newham ride is 10 July.

Important: Please respond to the consultation on extending the lighting of the Greenway as a move towards creating a proper Quietway along its length.
https://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/ServiceChild/Cycling-routes-consultation.aspx

The closing date is 17 June.

Arnold

May Meeting: Tour of Waltham Forest Mini-Holland

May 23 saw us start out from Forest Gate to look at progress on Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland project.  It was a real revelation.

We met  Paul Gasson at Leyton for his expert guidance.   There we saw the first manifestation – the Brompton hire box opposite the secure cycle parting at Leyton :

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He explained that most of the project had now been designed and consultation was in play.  About one-quarter had been put in place.  TfL had provided £37m but the Council had found a further £17m much of it from developers (in contrast Newham Council seems to have a self- denying ordinance against seeking money for cycle infrastructre from developers); and had backed this by strong political impetus and some expert engineers/designers who were keen to get the infrastuctre in place and prepared to change it if it did not work.

We went from Leyton to Ruckholt Rd and made our way up the Lea Valley where there is planned to be a segregated track/quietway route building on existing infrastructure:

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A key element of the project is a Superhighway along Lea Bridge Rd.  A small part is in place near the Ice Skating centre and foreshadows something of high quality which will take about a year to put into place.

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Here we also got our first glimpse of the new Lea Bridge station and its recently installed secure cycle parking:

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Another key element of the project is “villagisation” i.e. creating four areas without through traffic.  This is key to promoting the project as being as much a public realm benefit as a cycling benefit.  The first such area put in place was Walthamstow village; but we passed through first the recently installed point closures in Blackhorse “village”.  The “villages” are to be complemented by safe routes across heavily trafficked routes along their borders, such as this tiger crossing (of the sort we should see along our Quietway 6):

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We ended up at Walthamstow Village, where  point closures had been used to create mini squares:

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Time prevented us seeing Walthamstow town centre (for which a cycle hub is planned) and routes to Chingford.  But what we saw was impressive and a testimony of what can be done with some political will.

Thanks to Bill for the photos

 

Arnold